STORM ELEANOR: Weather warning upgraded as forecaster says 'danger to life is likely' on western coasts
The Met Office has upgraded its weather warning covering the Fylde coast to amber - which means residents should 'be prepared' for disruption.
Strong winds of around 60mph are set to batter the region from later this evening into tomorrow morning, at the same time heavy rain is expected to coincide with high tide, with emergency services and local authorities encouraging people to get ready for Storm Eleanor's arrival.
The forecaster said its weather warning will remain in place from 7.30pm today until 4am tomorrow, and added: "Flying debris could lead to injuries or danger to life whilst some damage to buildings is likely.
"Some disruption to road, rail and air travel is likely and ferry services may be affected.
"There is a good chance that power cuts may occur with mobile phone coverage perhaps affected.
"Along west-facing coasts, injuries and danger to life is likely from large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, seafronts, and properties."
A yellow weather warning, meaning 'more aware', was previously in place. One Coastguard official told The Gazette the warning was being taken seriously.
On its website, the Met Office said an amber warning means 'there is an increased likelihood of bad weather affecting you, which could potentially disrupt your plans and possibly cause travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power and the potential risk to life and property.'
"Amber means you need to be prepared to change your plans and protect you, your family and community from the impacts of the severe weather based on the forecast from the Met Office," it added.
The government's flood warning information service said earlier widespread flooding is possible across Wyre, including in Cleveleys and Fleetwood.
And it later added that flooding is now 'expected' around Skippool Creek in Poulton, and at Hambleton and Thornton, with 'immediate action required'.
In a statement, the council said it had taken 'precautions to deal with high tides expected along the coastline in Wyre.'
It added: "In response to warnings of windy weather we have taken the precaution to close all storms boards along the coast to reduce the risk of flooding.
"All residents living close to the coast are advised to take precautions to reduce the threat of flooding to their properties.
"Members of the public are advised to stay off the promenade and beach for their own safety, particularly during high tide, until the boards have been reopened."
The government's flood information service said flooding is possible at the estuary of the River Wyre this evening.
It said: "People are advised to take additional care next to the coast and stay away from low lying land, roads and promenades.
"Some wave action is expected. High water levels can be expected two hours before and after the peak of the high tide.
"Environment Agency staff are monitoring the situation and checking tidal defences."
Meanwhile, managing director at Blackpool Transport, Jane Cole, said speed restrictions could be put in place on the tram network.
"If [the wind] becomes too excessive, to the point we are concerned about safety, then the trams will not operate," she said.
A bus replacement service 'may be put on', she added, depending on the severity of the wind.
Blackpool Council urged people to 'avoid the prom' for two hours either side of high tide tonight and tomorrow: 9.21pm-1.21am, and 9.45am-1.45pm.
Electricity North West said those who experience a power cut, or need to tell engineers of any damage, can call 105 for free.
And the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service issued safety advice, which included:
- Securing any outdoor furniture or bins, and ladders, etc;
- Allowing extra time when travelling, driving slower, and being aware of strong side winds; and
- Being extra vigilant when on exposed routes such as bridges or high, open roads.